Hawa, chair of the Warumba Wakombozi community group
Hawa is chair of the Warumba Wakombozi community group in Kigoma, western Tanzania. The group started off exploring traditional dance but evolved to provide vital malaria education to the local residents. The members are mostly traditional home birth attendants who now also work with clinics in the area advising expectant mothers on when to go for check-ups and how to protect themselves and their unborn children from malaria.
When the group first started there were just two members - Hawa and a secretary. But with more and more people joining the group they’ve been able to help to educate local communities on healthcare issues including malaria, HIV and family planning. As a way of engaging and passing on information to the communities Hawa’s group compose songs, and have created one about malaria education. Many more women are now attending health clinics and the number of deaths during pregnancy due to malaria is decreasing.
"THERE WERE SO MANY DEATHS OF PREGNANT WOMEN BECAUSE THEY WERE DELIVERING BABIES AT HOME, SO WE WERE LOSING A LOT OF WOMEN BECAUSE OF THAT. WE DECIDED: ‘THIS IS IT’, WE NEED TO EDUCATE THEM ON THE IMPORTANCE OF GOING TO THE HEALTH FACILITY TO DELIVER."
The group receives vital training from volunteers the Tanzania Communications and Development Center (TCDC) which receives funding from the Comic Relief and GSK partnership to support the fight against malaria. This additional training allows the group to learn more about protecting families against malaria and how to spread these teachings to other residents in their community, through their songs and work as midwives.
Hawa is pleased about the progress that has been made in the fight against malaria so far and believes that although it is still a huge challenge, things will continue to change for the better over the coming years.